Category Archives: Events and Competitions

French flash fiction results 2021

We recently launched our annual Spanish Flash Fiction Competition, which closed in March. The competition was open to students in Years 7 to 13, who were tasked with writing a short story of no more than 100 words in French. We had a brilliant response, with entries coming in from across the UK and beyond, and in total we had more than six hundred submissions.

The judges were very impressed with the quality of the entries. We would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and commend you all for your hard work and creativity in writing a piece of fiction in a different language. This is a challenging exercise, and a significant achievement.

We are pleased to say we are now in a position to announce the winning entries.

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Cormac Mitchell in Year 7. The runner-up was Nandhitha Agilan in Year 9.

The judges also highly commended Scarlett Chappell, Marina Yu, Mairead Mitchell, Juliette Shaw, Adam Noad, Ava Preston, Chung Yu Kwok, Emily Seager, Alice Hadwen-Beck, and Gabriela Duniec.

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Chung Sze Kwok in Year 12. The runner-up was Holly Singleton in Year 12.

The judges also highly commended Harrison Cartwright, Elishe Lim, Joseph Oluwabusola, Safiyah Sillah, Teniola Ijaluwoye, Jamilya Bertram, Benjamin Fletcher, Charles Blagburn, Jamie Hopkins, and Allie Gruber.

Félicitations ! You’ll be receiving your certificates in the post soon.

If anyone is curious to read the winning entries, we will be publishing them in the coming weeks. Congratulations to our winners, once again!

Spanish flash fiction results 2021

We recently launched our annual Spanish Flash Fiction Competition, which closed in March. The competition was open to students in Years 7 to 13, who were tasked with writing a short story of no more than 100 words in Spanish. We had a brilliant response, with entries coming in from across the UK and beyond, and in total we had more than three hundred submissions.

The judges praised the high standard of the entries across both categories. We would like to thank everyone who entered the competition and commend you all for your hard work and creativity in writing a piece of fiction in a different language. This is a challenging exercise, and a significant achievement.

We are pleased to say we are now in a position to announce the winning entries.

In the Years 7-11 category, the winner is Sophie Hobbs in Year 10. The runners up were Adam Noad in Year 11 and Abisola Daodu in Year 9.

The judges also highly commended Joe Gutierrez Thielen, Jonathan Visan Gherghe and Isabella Ooms.

In the Years 12-13 category, the winner is Ada Janowicz in Year 12. The runners up were Sofia Hoad in Year 12 and Eden Farber in Year 12.

The judges also highly commended Hannah Newton and Mariam Siarli.

¡ Felicidades! You’ll be receiving your certificates in the post soon.

If anyone is curious to read the winning entries, we will be publishing them in the coming weeks. Congratulations to our winners, once again!

French and Spanish Flash Fiction Competitions: Deadline Reminder

The clock is ticking… The deadline for this year’s French and Spanish flash fiction competitions is 31 March 2021 so, if you are thinking of entering, now is a good time to start work on your story! The competition – to write a story of no more than 100 words in either French or Spanish – is open to students aged 11-18, with cash prizes up for grabs in different age categories. For full details about the competition check out this post.

Competition news from the Oxford German Network

Colleagues at the Oxford German Network have just launched Round 2 of this year’s Oxford German Olympiad; the competition features a choice of creative tasks aimed at school pupils in age groups ranging from Year 10 to Year 13.

Two of the new tasks are sponsored by the White Rose Project, which is investigating the story of the White Rose resistance group. The competition tasks focus on resistance member Sophie Scholl, who would have had her one hundredth birthday in 2021. The third task asks entrants to consider the parallels between the 1920s and 2020s.

There are cash prizes available for the winning entries. Full details of all Oxford German Olympiad competitions are available on the OGN’s website here.

Coming Soon: Events for Modern Languages Students

Colleagues in the Faculty of Modern Languages are currently involved in a national project, Modern Languages Outreach and Engagement (MLOE) led by Dr. Jessica Goodman (St. Catherine’s College). As part of this project, universities all over the UK are hosting a series of free online events focusing on Modern Languages for school students and their teachers. The event led by the University of Oxford will take place on Thursday 18 February (5pm-6.30pm). Interactive sessions will give attendees an insight in what it means to study modern languages at university by introducing the kind of texts that students might study, focusing primarily on French and German materials. One session will ask how literature and science interact, using German texts about imagined adventures into outer space. Another will look at ghosts in literature, using examples from French. Whilst the sessions will use French and German materials, English translations will be provided, so you do not need to know either language already to take part. There will also be the opportunity to find out from current Oxford students what it is like to study Modern Languages here. The sessions hosted by Oxford are primarily designed for students studying for A Levels and who are taking Modern Languages, but any students who are interested in Modern Languages are welcome to attend.

You can find further details about these events, including information about how to book, here.

Edit (2 February 2021): the booking link is now open for the Oxford event on 18 February. Participants can sign up here.

French and Spanish flash fiction competitions now open!

We’re delighted to announce the return of our ever-popular French and Spanish flash fiction competitions for school students. If you are learning French and/or Spanish in Years 7-13, you are invited to send us a *very* short story to be in with a chance of winning up to £100. Read on to find out more…

What is Flash Fiction?

We’re looking for a complete story, written in French or Spanish, using NO MORE THAN 100 WORDS.

What are the judges looking for?

We’ll be looking for imagination and narrative flair, as well as your ability to write in French or Spanish. Your use of French or Spanish will be considered in the context of your age and year group: in other words, we will not expect younger pupils to compete against older pupils linguistically. For inspiration, you can read last year’s winning entries for French here, and for Spanish here.

What do I win?

There are two categories: Years 7-11 and Years 12-13. A first prize of £100 will be awarded to the winning entry in each category, with runner-up prizes of £25. The winning entries will be published on this blog, if you give us permission to do so.

How do I enter?

The deadline for submissions is noon on Wednesday 31st March 2021. If you would like to submit a story in French please do so via our online submission portal here. If you would like to submit a story in Spanish please do so here.

You may only submit one story per language but you are welcome to submit one story in French AND one story in Spanish if you would like to. Your submission should be uploaded as a Word document or pdf.

Please note that, because of GDPR, teachers cannot enter on their students’ behalf: students must submit their entries themselves.

If you have any questions, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

International Book Club

Our colleagues over at the Queen’s College Translation Exchange are once again running their International Book Club this term. The club meets once a term to discuss a novel translated into English from any language. The next event will be held via Zoom on Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 8pm, and the conversation will focus on Gine Cornelia Pedersen’s book, Zero, translated from Norwegian and published by Nordisk Books in 2018. The translator, Rosie Hedger, will also join the discussion.

For more details about how to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to think about the process of translation, take a look at the International Book Club’s webpage. You’ll also find information there about how to get a special discount from the publisher if you purchase a copy of the book being discussed, and details about the books which have been the subject of previous International Book Club events.

Competitions for Language Learners in Schools

Colleagues across the university are currently hosting several exciting competitions designed to engage school pupils with language learning. First up is a topical competition from the team at the Modern Languages Outreach and Engagement (MLOE) project. Open to Year 9 students (Year 10 in Northern Ireland), ‘Rethinking Languages through COVID-19’ asks entrants to produce a poster reflecting on some of the ways in which COVID-19 has changed language use, or impacted on life, in another country. The closing date for this competition is Friday 18 December 2020: full details for teachers and their pupils are available here.

Alpes de Berchtesgaden (Image credit Wikimedia Commons)

Elsewhere the Oxford German Olympiad (OGN) is now open for entries. This year’s theme is ‘Die Alpen’ (The Alps) and there is a whole range of opportunities for age groups ranging right through from Years 5 and 6 in primary school to Years 12 and 13 to win prizes. The tasks to choose from include opportunities for creative writing and making art, and they don’t all require a prior knowledge of the German language – just an enthusiasm for engaging with the culture, language, and nature of German-speaking countries. Entrants have until Thursday 11 March 2021 to take part, and all of the relevant information can be found on the competition website.

Later this year we’ll also be launching our ever-popular French and Spanish flash fiction competitions. Watch this space for updates: in the meantime you can read the winning entries from 2020 for French here, and for Spanish here.

Calling UK Modern Language Teachers

The Sir Robert Taylor Society is a network of teachers of Modern Foreign Languages in secondary schools, academics in the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty at the University of Oxford, and others who have an interest in Modern Languages. It is named after the founder of the Modern Languages Library at Oxford (the ‘Taylor Institution’), Sir Robert Taylor.

Our annual conference takes place in September at the University of Oxford, and provides a unique forum for interaction and exchange between the University and teachers.

Sadly, we have had to cancel this year’s meeting in Oxford. Instead, we invite you to join us remotely for a series of live events which we are planning for Friday 25 September, from 4.30 until 7pm. We’ll be hosting the event on the Sir Robert Taylor Society website, which is here. It will consist of talks and Q&As between modern language teachers, Oxford tutors, and current undergraduates, with the British diplomat Sir Simon McDonald as our special guest .

If you teach modern languages in a UK school and you’d like to attend this online meeting by emailing us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk. At the same time, please do mention any questions you would like to submit in advance. These may be about the study of individual languages and literatures at Oxford (whether post-A or from scratch), the year abroad, career destinations, or any aspect of the application process. Live questions will also be welcome on the day!

We’d like to draw the attention of modern languages teachers to two resources in the meantime:

1) Oxford University’s Virtual Open Day on 18 September, which you and your students are very welcome to ‘attend’. For further details please see:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/virtual-open-day

2) The Oxford University Medieval and Modern Languages webpages, where you can find a collated list of resources to support your teaching, and also to guide you and your students through applying to Oxford and the experiences of studying here, with plenty of input from current students! These resources can be found here:

https://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/schools

French Flash Fiction Competition: Commended Stories

Image by annca from Pixabay

It’s our final flash fiction post of the season and, to wrap up, we bring you some of the brilliant stories from the students in the Years 7-11 category who were commended by the judges. Félicitations!

Comment être un chien

Pour être un chien, il faut être très mignon. Tes yeux sont faits pour dire, « j’ai très faim ! » ou « je veux jouer toute la journée, sans arrêt ! » et ta fourrure est réconfortante à toucher.
« Voilà, Galette. » dira ton maître, et il te câlinera. Tu as, maintenant, une tranche de bœuf magnifique.
Aussi, tu dois manger tout, aller au jardin, jouer tout le temps et marcher sur le tapis avec des pieds sales.
« Non, Galette ! »
Mais surtout, cherche toujours le sourire de ton maître, parce que s’il n’est pas content, ton travail n’est pas fini.

(Carla Lubin, Year 7)

C’est le 6 Juin 1844 à Luc sur Mer, je prépare ma toile pour la peinture. La plage est silencieuse. Je suis perdu dans ma dessin quand brusquement, le ciel devient gris, la pluie couvre le ciel mais mes doigts ne veulent pas s’arrêter. Je peins plus que je peux vois. La mer semble rouge alors que des centaines d’hommes montent la plage de navires et battements métalliques que je n’ai vu jamais auparavant. Tous les hommes portent la même vert vêtements. Ma toile est rempli avec guerre et horreur.

 Mon frère il regarde la toile. ‘Quelle imagination tu as’.

(Lara Hardy-Smith, Year 11)

C’était une journée normale à Londres, en Angleterre, à la fin de l’été 1666. Il faisait chaud et le soleil brillait brillamment sur la Tamise. La place du marché grouillait d’acheteurs et de vendeurs et la boulangerie avait une longue file d’attente; très probablement en raison de l’odeur de pain sortant du four. Au fil du temps, les cris des marchands sont partis et le soleil s’est couché sous l’horizon. Dans la boulangerie, le boulanger emballait ses pains lorsque quelqu’un entra. En fait, c’était un chien! Un petit chien mignon. Un petit chien mignon avec une torche allumée dans sa bouche. Soudain, il jeta la torche au fond de la boulangerie et un terrible incendie se déclara.

C’est vraiment ce qui s’est passé et ce qui a déclenché le grand incendie de Londres.

(Aiden Politiek, Year 10)

Deux mondes

Mes ennemis suivent mon moindre pas, je ne peux pas m’arrêter. Je marche, seul, hanté par une peur invisible et féroce. Je suis un chevalier perdu, épouvanté par ma solitude et craignant de ne jamais revoir mon royaume. Soudainement, une figure pale surgit des bois obscurs : elle s’avance et la lumière révèle un visage grave. “Aidez-moi, s’il vous plait…” ma soif et fatigue sont telles que mes lèvres ne bougent presque plus. Mais l’homme, sans empathie, indique l’horloge. “C’est l’heure, mademoiselle, rentrez chez vous.” Alors, timidement, je ferme le livre et me hâte de laisser la bibliothèque déjà vide.

(Silvia Rossi, Year 10)

L’ombre de Venise

Venise. Le soleil plongeait ses couleurs corail dans le canal. Un jeune garçon longeait les quais, jetant des galets dans l’eau opaque. Il aperçut une ombre, regarda vers le ciel. Rien. Il suivit le fantôme vers des ruelles lugubres et isolées, seules quelques étoiles perçaient le crépuscule. Soudain son pied fut happé à travers les planches tordues dans le canal brumeux. Des bulles jaillirent de sa bouche, ses cheveux se métamorphosèrent en corail argenté, de fines écailles grises transpercèrent sa peau devenue diaphane. Il hurla, regarda ses mains palmées. L’ombre fit un signe. Il s’enfonça dans les profondeurs de Venise.

(Clémence Buffelard, Year 9)

Je ne dormais pas. Je m’appelle Jacques et je ne dormais pas. Depuis que cette chanson a été faite, ma vie a changé. Tous les jours, tout le temps, les enfants chantent la chanson ennuyeuse. Je trouve ça ennuyeux car je ne dormais pas mais je mangeais mon petit déjeuner. J’appréciais ma bouillie mais j’ai alors oublié de sonner les cloches du matin. Donc, je vous en supplie, s’il vous plaît, arrêtez de chanter la chanson.

(Kairav Singh, Year 9)

Je cours

Je cours. Je n’ai pas beaucoup de temps. Je besoin de la faire avant ils réalisent je suis parti. J’arrive à le pont. Il y a les voitures au-dessous de moi. Il y a l’excès de vitesse le long de l’autoroute. J’arrive à la barrière. J’escalade. Je saute. Je me réveille. Je retourne à le pont. J’arrive à la barrière. J’escalade. Je saute. Je me réveille. Je retourne à le pont. J’entends un moteur vrombissement. Un camion vient à moi. Il me frappe. Je ne vois rien. Certain choses vous ne pouvez pas échappé.

(Jonathan Stockill, Year 7)

“Soit dit en passant, Harry,” dit le professeur Dumbledore à mi-chemin du livre six, “une prophétie dit que vous seul pouvez vaincre le mal Lord Voldemort. C’est pour ça qu’il essaie de te tuer. Vous devez détruire les sept morceaux de son â me, et il vous reste un livre pour le faire. Ne vous attendez pas à de l’aide de ma part; Je serai assassiné de façon spectaculaire en deux chapitres. En plus de cela, il ya des examens à passer et des remous hormonaux à composer avec. Maintenant, souhaitez-vous être allé à ce Muggle complet?”

(Ryan Kwarteng, Year 7)

C’était son premier jour. Après que sa carrière musicale n’ait pas fonctionné, Morhange s’est retrouvé à regarder la grande entrée de Fond de L’Etang, un endroit qu’il avait toujours voulu quitter mais qu’il n’avait jamais pu. Il est entré dans l’école et a vu son ancienne salle de classe. à l’intérieur, ses nouveaux élèves attendaient patiemment. Morhange pensa à Clément Mathieu et le remercia avant de prendre une profonde inspiration et d’entrer dans la pièce. Un étudiant a crié: “Qui êtes-vous?” Souriant, Morhange a dit “Bonjour classe. Je m’appelle M. Morhange. Je suis votre professeur de musique.”

(Riya Mistry, Year 9)

(Harriet Preston, Year 9)